I've been delighted to come back to see that I now can understand most of the conversations going on around us without having to concentrate, translate and conjugate each word. This has the added bonus of knowing that we aren't the topic of most conversations that go on around us on the street. Classroom discussion time on issues such as economics, theology and government are much more engaging as all of us are better able to express our opinions in Arabic. Tasks such as giving drivers directions, asking for prices and goods at the store and calling for water aren't the stresser they were last year. Gone are the days of rehearsing a phrase 5 times before I enter the scenario in which I need to use it.
Simply put, everyday tasks have become everyday tasks.
Sermons at church are still a challenge. This is mainly due to the preacher's mixing written Arabic in with spoken Arabic in every message they give. We are gaining an understanding of the written Arabic, but it's coming much more slowly. Written Arabic is also the Arabic used in radio and TV news reports. I do understand the gist of any report I hear now, but the details so far elude me.
I may sound like a 3rd grader, but it is exciting to be able to read! I'm not just sound out the letters slowly when I sing hymns and look at signs and advertisements.
While the first year of language was a very, very hard task, this is starting to be an exciting adventure once again.